THE GREAT OUTDOORS FEATURE
_ Messing about in
7 It SCOTTISH sponrs' COUNCIL/FIONA MCNAIR
I“: j“ " Landlubbers are understandably confused by sailing terms; even an everyday word like ‘kitchen’ has its own nautical term. But people are always eager to be converted and early bookings at sailing schools are advisable during the summer months.
Tighnabruich Sailing School on the Kyle of Bute in Argyll runs a six-day beginners’ course which starts bright and early on Sunday mornings. Having clambered blean'ly into a Wayfarer dinghy, the crew (three people per instructor) start to learn the ropes, literally. and take turns practising manoeuvres. It's a bit like learning to drive; you seem to have to do about eight things at once - remembering which way to turn the tiller. controlling the sheets (sorry, that’s sails to the land- locked), checking wind direction and of course making sure that the boom doesn’t land a sucker punch on the side of your head.
But it gets easier as the course progresses. ‘A beginner should have reasonable single-handed control of the dinghy by the second half of the week.‘ according to one of the Tighnabruich instructors -— and you might even get the chance to relax a bit and admire the sea-life. By the end of the week you’ll be splicing the main brace and passing the port with the best ofthem. (Ruth Thomas)
Week-long beginners courses are run at Yighnabruich Sailing School. Tighnabruich, Argyll, 0700 811396. Cost: £129.90 (£134.90 in July and August). See listings for further details.
:— Walk on the
The lure of some of Europe’s last, great
unspoilt mountain ranges are proving irresistible to ever increasing numbers of people who are attracted by the
freedom which the mountains can offer them. A recent survey suggests that the
number of folk taking to the hills has grown by 40 per cent in the last four
years, making hillwalking and climbing the fastest growing outdoor activities in
the UK. But perhaps inevitably. as the
numbers of people using the mountains
has increased, so have the numbers of accidents on Scotland‘s mountains. The hills and mountains of Scotland have claimed twenty lives so far this year with the main holiday season still to come. Surprisingly, the majority of
fatalities involved experienced climbers
who were properly equipped but found themselves caught out by rapidly changing weather conditions at the beginning ofthis year. ‘No matter how
experienced you are. the risk factor can never be completely eliminated,’ points out Ian Collie, chairman of the Scottish
Mountain Safety Group. ‘Whilst an
_ Get some air
Flying in an aeroplane is basically an act of faith - you don’t have to actually understand the laws of aerodynamics, lust pray they’ll hold good for the duration of your flight.
Jumping out of the aeroplane once it’s
cruising at a height of several thousand feet tests that faith to the limits. But people do it, survive and head back for more: they even call it fun.
Remarkably, your first parachute
jump is something you can do in a day.
There’s around eight hours of on-the- ground training when you learn how it works in theory. Then It’s lumping
time, a moment which involves a wing,
a prayer and a flimsy bit of silk. You don’t have to worry about rip-cords - the ’chute opens automatically after you leave the plane - and there you are, floating gently down to earth. By this stage you’ll either have sworn never to allow both feet to leave the ground simultaneously again or be
experienced mountaineer will not get out of his car if conditions are bad, the majority of accidents still occur during the summer.‘
Many who use and enjoy the mountains assume that only those who utilise ropes are at risk, whereas in fact the majority of accidents happen to hillwalkers. ‘Hillwalking is a summer sport. In the winter, there is only mountaineering,‘ says Bob Reid, president of the Mountaineering Council of Scotland. ‘The recognition of danger comes with experience and there are no short cuts to gaining experience. Learning in the company of
other experienced people is a good way
working out how to find the money to do it all again. If you’re bitten by the bug, the thrill of free-falling awaits. (Eddie Clbb)
‘ihe Scottish Parachuting Club is
of avoiding an accident.’
The advice for enjoying the mountains safely is simple — if in doubt, turn back. People who have travelled a long distance are reluctant to head home without getting out of their car but this can be fatal. Make sure that you are properly dressed with suitable strong footwear. Carry a torch, compass and map and make sure that you know how to use them. Always leave a note of where you are going and when you intend to return. (Jonathan Trew)
F or those wishing to get some mountain survival techniques under their belts contact the Mountaineering Council of Scotland on 0224 665229.
based at Strathallan Airfield, Auchterarder. Membership ls £50 and a training lump costs £49 at weekends or £29 during the week.
I Abernathy Outdoor Centre Nethy Bridge, Invemess-shire, 0479 821279. Open all year apart from November. Facilities: windsurfing, canoeing, kayaking, skiing, dry ski slope, climbing wall, assault course, adventure course, sailing, hillwalking. orienteering. mountain biking, swimming, squash and an aerial slide. A minimum of four people per group is required. Costs from £45 a day for full board, accommodation, instruction and equipment hire.
I Achnamara Outdoor Centre near Lochgilphead, Argyll, 0546 85212. Open all year. Facilities: dinghy sailing. abseiling, Nordic and alpine skiing, windsurﬁng, canoeing, hillwalking, orienteering and rock climbing. Groups of fifteen upwards usually required. Costs
from £38 a day including instruction and equipment hire.
I Ancrum Outdoor Centre Dundee, 0382 60719. Open all year. Facilities: summer and winter hillwalking, canoeing. windsurfing, archery, alpine and Nordic skiing, dry ski slope and sailing. Individuals catered for. Costs from £23 for two days skiing including equipment hire and tuition.
I Arran Outdoor Centre Arran, 077086 0333. Open February to November inclusive. Facilities: environmental studies, canoeing, kayaking, gorge walking, cycling, cruising, rope courses and abseiling. Individuals catered for when possible. Activity weekends cost £42 per person.
I Ardeonaig Outdoor Centre near Killin. Perthshire, 0567 820523. Open all year. Facilities: Nordic skiing, canoeing, kayaking, gorge walking, archery.
orienteering, hillwalking, ropes course and indoor sports. Individuals catered for. Costs from £18.80 per day for accommodation, full board and activities. I Badaguish OOMOOI Centre Aviemore, lnvemess-shire. 047986 1285. Open all year. Facilities: rowing, sailing, pony trekking. walking, cycling and overnight bothy trips. Caters for people with special needs. Prices on application.
I Bigfoot Adventures Heughhead. Aberdeenshire, 09756 51312. Open all year. Facilities: kayaking, canoeing, gorge climbing, river rafting. hillwalking, rock climbing, alpine and Nordic skiing, mountain biking, archery, orienteering and abseiling. Groups of three upwards required. Instruction and equipment hire £47 a day.
I Brlgbouse Bay llollday Park Kirkcudbright, 05577 267. Open mid-May to mid-September. Facilities: windsailing,
sailing, canoeing, jet skiing, water skiing, pony trekking and bike hire. Individuals catered for. Costs from £16 for two hours canoeing including equipment hire and tuition.
The List 20 May—2 June 1994 13